Platinum Strike Continues: Resolutions End in Failure
South Africa’s major platinum producers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) met on Monday to resolve the longest mining strike in its history. Things did not go according to plan.
"No agreement was reached today," Joseph Mathunjwa, president of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union told reporters as he left the talks in Pretoria.
After two weeks of state-brokered negotiation, the two parties remained deadlocked as efforts to end the five-month platinum strike ended in failure. The latest rounds of negotiations were led by Ngoako Ramathlodi, Minister of Mineral Resources.
Anglo American Platinum Ltd., Impala Platinum Holding Ltd. and Lonmin Plc, the world’s three largest producers of platinum “will now review further options available,” they said in a joint email today after the talks in Pretoria ended “without an outcome.”
More than 70,000 mineworkers have been on strike since Jan. 23, demanding higher pay. The workers are asking for wages to be more than doubled to 12,500 rand ($1,200) a month.
"AMCU made many concessions. We actually moved twice to make employers move closer to us," Mathunjwa said.
The strike has halted mines that normally account for 40 percent of global platinum output and has affected economic output in Africa’s most advanced economy.
“There’s just no compromise from their (union) side and they just don’t accept the financial realities of what we can and can’t do right now,” a spokesperson for Impala said.
The three companies said in a statement they had forfeited earnings of 22 billion rand and employees have lost about 9.6 billion rand in wages since the strike.
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